This will probably become part 1 of many tips in doing marriage “right”. It will also probably change and evolve depending on a lot of things. But, after posting these tips from another person I felt that I had a few up my sleeve that works pretty good.
These are by no means set in stone, and they will probably differ from person to person. But they’ve worked for me/us. I also don’t want to give the impression that I’ve arrived and know everything, by no means. I simply thought I’d list a few tips that has worked for us. 🙂
1. Have unified rock solid “truths”
More important than personal interest or any psychological and or practical interests or hobbies between partners are what I call “truths”. These are the beliefs or convictions that your entire being is built upon. When the shit hits the fan these are the things you bank on to be there. These truths will never fail. No matter what. You need to identify what your life truths are for you and your spouse. Even better you need to identify those that you both agree on. These would be things like “I love you deeply and honestly”. or “We’re on the same team”, or “God is Good all the time”, or “Never hold a grudge”.
Example: Both me and my wife believe that “God is good all the time”. No matter what. Death, sickness, tragedy, joy or happiness can hit us but this truth is something we will always stand on.
It helps tremendously to have this to stand on when in times of need. This allows us to stand on solid ground, get up and get moving forward again.
Example: We’re on the same team
This sounds obvious but so often during arguments or conflict one tends to forget your partner is actually on your side, and you are on the same team. When emotions get high its so easy to view your spouse as the “enemy” during the argument or fight and you throw accusations at each other not listening because you have to “win the fight against the enemy”.
One tends to forget that your partner’s response normally comes from a place of love and care and with the best intentions even though the wording or conveying of this comment comes out wrong.
By knowing you’re both on the same team will drastically change the way you guys argue, fight and deal with conflict.
2. In times of conflict: pause and go through your truths
If there’s one easy way to defuse an argument or fight then this is it. Whenever an argument is about to start or it’s just about to explode then do this: Simply stop with whatever case the one partner is trying to make, or argument he/she is trying to prove and list your truths. It helps with naming the truth that is most applicable to the current situation first. In a fight with your spouse it would typically be “We’re on the same team, I’m on your side, I’m not the enemy”. When you say this out loud it would typically get a response like “then why did you say …” or “but it sure doesn’t feel like it because you said…”
This is already defusing the anger and tackling the root of the issue which is miscommunication which is 9/10 times the cause of almost all arguments. The one hears something the other says completely differently and assumes it means something it never was intended to. This leads to a negative response based on something that was misunderstood, which then leads to another negative response … and there we go. Argument 101.
By listing your truths you immediately place yourself visibly and audibly on the same footing as your spouse because it is truths you both agree on.
By focussing on the things you agree on the fight becomes less important because it normally something small.
3. Bounce before responding
As mentioned above, the cause of almost all fights are miscommunication. An easy way to resolve this is to respond with what you heard your spouse said, before you reply to his/her initial comment. This forces you to listen and not work out a response in your head while you spouse is talking.
Example: You are in the middle of a fight, and you spouse says something like “I wish you listened to me about the loan you took out.”
You would respond with “Okay love, I heard you said that I never listen to you and should not have taken out the extra loan”
You cannot continue with your reply until your spouse has agreed with you verbalizing her comment correctly.This would allow your spouse to correct what you didn’t hear properly or what he/she didn’t verbalize properly with “No, I didn’t say you NEVER listen to me, I simply said you didnt listen to me on this one occasion about the loan”
Notice the difference? Immediately you diffuse the exaggerated version that was heard by the one partner with “never listening” with the actual truth of “not listening this once“. If this technique was not being used then chances are you would have started thinking about all the times you have in fact listened to your spouse while not listening right now at all to the rest of his/her sentence, setting both of you up for even more miscommunication.
Sometimes one simply have to address certain issues between you and your spouse and you know chances are pretty high that it will end up with a fight. It is a very sensitive issue, or an issue you fought over before.
An example here could be something like you wanting to buy something expensive, or something more serious like the decision the emigrate, get kids or bad habits your spouse has that you want to address.
The key here is timing. There are certain times when you should avoid having a serious discussions. Typically this would be when you or your spouse are tired, stressed, overworked or busy.
Sounds pretty obvious right. Yet most of the fights I had with my spouse was when one of us was off the chart tired, or stressed, or over worked.
Choose your times for these discussions well. Is you spouse a morning person? Then do it before lunch time. When are both of you most relaxed and “in a good space”. Have the chat then.
Thats it for Today.